OPEN LETTER | Former exec of Subic school appeals for Duterte’s help over stalled permit

July 2, 2016 - 11:56 AM
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The Comteq Computer and Business College. (contributed photo)

His Excellency Rodrigo Duterte

President

Republic of the Philippines

I was surprised to hear you speak of reducing processing time of all applications as your very first directive to your cabinet secretaries and all other government agencies.

Your pronouncement gave me the courage to write this letter to expose to one and all how the application for business permit of Comteq Computer and Business College, a non-stock,  non-profit , SEC-registered educational institution in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone, has remained unissued for more than five years.  Perhaps you can use Comteq’s case to determine how to streamline the application process and even rectify possible abuse of power by some government officials in the process.

As a backgrounder, the 19-year old school was operating inside the Subic Bay Freeport Zone since 2001 with valid business permit and lease contracts issued by the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority.

However, by reason of the development of an Ayala-owned mall, the school was unceremoniously evicted from its original location in December of 2010, its lease contract pre terminated, and was transferred to its current location.  As a result of this transfer, the school population dropped from 500+ to 100+.

Since then, the SBMA has not issued Comteq’s business permit despite numerous attempts on our part to follow up our application, despite the fact that twice during a span of two years, the SBMA Chairman and Administrator, Roberto V. Garcia, in front of the undersigned, verbally ordered his Senior Deputy Administrator, Stefani Sano, to regularize our operations and despite the fact that our proposal was complete and that we received no notice of deficiency in our application during all those years.

Our papers remained on the table of SDA Sano as he refused to submit our proposal before the SBMA board knowing fully well that our application will get the board’s nod.   In fact, our documents were only submitted to, and approved by, the board during the time when SDA Sano was placed under suspension by the Ombudsman.

Weeks after the board approval however, when the case against Sano at the Ombudsman was later dismissed and Sano was able to return to his previous position, the SBMA informed us that the school has to pay five years back rent before a permit can be issued by the SBMA.  The very reason why the school had not been able to pay the rent was the absence of a business permit and contract of lease which would specify the rental amount.

It remains unimaginable why the school is being made to pay rent during the time when its population dropped down drastically as it was not enjoying the benefit of having a business permit and a contract, during the time when it was not able to open new courses and expand operations as opportunities arise, during the time when its elementary department was forced to close down in the absence of a business permit, and during the time when school authorities were actually following up its application with the SBMA.

For this reason, my brothers and I recently made the ultimate sacrifice of resigning from the board to give way to people who we believe could help the school with its problem on securing a business permit/lease contract. But until now, the school remains without a business permit from the SBMA.

It would surprise you to know that during the last two years, the school was awarded as the overall champion in the TESDA-sponsored skills competition held in Zambales; this is but an example of its many successes despite the presence of much bigger schools in our area. The school’s basketball team also emerged provincial champion in the last two years.

It is in this light that we seek your kind intercession; hoping that this injustice against students who directly benefit from the continued operation of the school would be stopped.

Thank you and more power to your leadership.

ANSBERT B. JOAQUIN

Former School Director and Administrator

Comteq Computer and Business College

Subic Bay Freeport Zone